June 7, 2007

6/7/07 Monreal Spain

"The god's don't care about a few wrong notes
if you strike them with a full heart.

It seemed like a strange day starting out because everyone I met last night is going the other way. You make friends so fast on the Camino, but saying goodbye is still hard even if you've only known them for a few hours. The Camino lets you open yourself so much, that you expose the heart to all. Goodbyes are sad, but the friendships will last a long time.

Last night I found out Nieve is a translator. She says it is hard work sometimes but she always is learning something new. And didn't really get a chance to talk to Melanie but I gave her my email address anyway.

So, at the crack of dawn I headed down the right path this time to Eunate where there is only the Chapel of Santa Maria de Eunate, which is linked somehow to the Templar Knights. Here I met a few guys who decided to camp instead of going on. But then I spent the next half hour trying to figure out where the trail was.

Turns out to be a 'real' trail alongside the fields and I didn't see it because it was so overgrown. But the path still was well worn.

Walking back to Eunate early in the morning

Such strange but beautiful architecture

No wonder I couldn't find the markers

A much different Camino

Got lost again going through Eneriz but I wasn't too shy about asking a guy going to work for directions. I chose a way through more countryside instead of by the road. There were very few markings, but I was comforted when I saw the occasional boot print that clearly was a pilgrim's.

I love the Camino Argones

More red poppies

Passed a mother and daughter in Ucar as we all were lost. But I told them where I came from, so the knew where to go. Still wasn't sure I was on the right trail leaving town, but I eventually made it to where I needed to go.

Unfortunately, the right direction was heading toward a huge open-pit mine near Campana. There was a haze of dust coming from the mine, but I was headed in the other direction. The surprise came when I got through Tiebas on the other side of the highway.

Ah, progress

The Camino turned into a dirt trail much like the Appalachian Trail. And I was grinning from ear to ear as I walked through the 'green tunnel'. Passed quite a few perigrinos headed the other way. Eventually the trees thinned out and I was pretty exposed under the sun, and there were plenty of biting insects in the tall brush, but I was still happy.

A wonderful day for a walk

The 'green' tunnel

The water in the aqueduct looks heavenly

Only a little cooler in the shade

Eventually the heat and the kilometers began to take there toll on me. It got so hot I even walked under my umbrella for a bit. Walk, walk, walk.

Lost the Camino a bit out of Monreal, but walked the highway instead. The first guy I stopped to ask where the albergue was didn't know, but he knew where the church was (the refugio was next door). Good thing I found it because I was exhausted. Cooked might be a better word. I need to leave earlier if I want to miss some of the afternoon heat.

One older French couple in the refugio have done the Camino several times, but when I said after I finish I'm going to a wedding in St Lys, they said they live just a few kilometers from there. They were disappointed that they won't be back from the Camino while I'm there.

Spent a lot of the afternoon talking to Immaculata from Italy. She knows a lot about the Via Francengina, the pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome. She wants to open an albergue on the route in Italy and also make it a center for holistic healing. Later she cooked a wonderful meal for me, and another Italian cyclist, Maximus.

Those Italians know how to cook

A good day, but a tough one too. I have a few days extra if I need them, but it just depends on the Camino.